09:13 GMT +319 February 2018
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    Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland

    US Special Forces to Operate Far From Russian Military in Syria - Nuland

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    The United States anticipates that its special forces deployed to Syria will operate far away from Russian airstrikes.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The United States anticipates that its special forces deployed to Syria will operate far away from Russian airstrikes, avoiding any chance of clashes between the two countries’ military campaigns, US Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland said on Wednesday.

    "Where we anticipate these special operators being, the Russians have been very far from that territory because as you know these special operators…would be operating against ISIL [Islamic State] and our concern is that Russia is operating in support of [President] Assad," Nuland told members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

    Top US Middle East diplomat Anne Patterson added that the deconfliction procedures that have been agreed on by Moscow and Washington were also meant to avoid any such incidents.

    Last week, the White House announced it would deploy up to 50 additional special operations forces to Syria in an effort to assist the military campaign against the Islamic State. The decision came after President Obama pledged in 2013 to not put US forces on the ground in Syria.

    Russia has been conducting precision airstrikes against the Islamic State terrorist group’s positions in Syria at the request of President Bashar Assad since September 30.

    Washington has repeatedly accused Moscow of attacking the moderate Syrian opposition in a bid to help the Assad government. However, Russia’s General Staff said Tuesday that Russian jets carried out airstrikes against 24 terrorist targets designated by Syrian opposition forces.

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